UNICEF warns child refugee crisis in Europe may continue to worsen

September 11, 2015 5:40 am 

GENEVA, Sept. 10 — The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday warned the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe will only worsen if greater efforts are not made to end the protracted conflict in Syria and address the humanitarian needs of the millions affected by the violence.

"Every Syrian I spoke to has told me that they would have stayed in their own country if they were able to feel safe, live in peace, and be treated with dignity," said Peter Salama, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

He said the refugees and migrants risk their lives and the lives of their children to flee to Europe because they have no other option and they see no future for themselves or for their children.

The conflict in Syria has left some 16 million people — almost half of them children — in need of life-saving assistance and protection, including basic health care, safe water and sanitation and education.

According to UNICEF, more than 4 million Syrians have fled the country since the conflict started nearly five years ago.

Latest data from the European Union showed that the largest group of refugees arriving in Europe in 2015 is from Syria, but as efforts are stepped up to address the urgent needs of those making the perilous journeys into and across Europe, considerable support is still required in countries neighboring Syria.

Turkey alone is now home to nearly 2 million Syrians under temporary protection, more than three times the number at the beginning of 2014 and the highest number of Syrian refugees in any single country.

In Lebanon, a country of 4.8 million people, 1.1 million Syrians are being accommodated, while Jordan is hosting almost 630,000 registered refugees.

Despite the enormous challenges facing those affected by the conflict, funding for humanitarian assistance is not keeping pace with needs. UNICEF's appeal for 2015 for programs in Syria and surrounding countries, totaling USD 903 million, is less than half funded. (PNA/Xinhua)



Comments are closed.